This Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6, cider fans have something to get juiced about: The 44th annual Lakewood Cider Days will celebrate all things apple at the Lakewood Heritage Center. The fest has plenty to do for the whole family, including live music, a magic show, historical demonstrations (such as wood carving and butter churning), a tractor pull and several apple-centric activities, but the tasting event is one of the best in the region.
Believe it or not, Cider Days was once a dry affair, but eight years ago the fall event added a hard cider tasting to go along with the fresh-pressed stuff. “The tasting has grown quite a bit, just like the cider industry has grown,” says Brad Page, owner of Colorado Cider Company and president of the Colorado Cider Guild.
The first year the festival added hard ciders, only three or four cideries poured their products, but this year approximately twenty producers will be represented, with at least fifty different ciders to taste. “It’s come a long way,” Page notes.
Colorado cider makers will include Big B’s Cider, Colorado Cider Company, C Squared Cider, Stem Ciders, Clear Fork Ciders, St. Vrain Cidery, Climb Hard Ciders, Snow Capped Ciders, Talbott’s Cider, Haykin Family Ciders and Locust Ciders. Out-of-town guests will include Michel Jodoin from Quebec, Anthem and Reverend Nat from Oregon, Starcut from Michigan, Original Sin from New York, and Farnum Hill Ciders and West County Ciders, both from New Hampshire.
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“It’s a nice chance to see what people are doing,” Page explains. “There’s a lot more variety with cider that people don’t really see out in the market.”
The tasting is an opportunity to sample European-inspired ciders, as well as styles that are dryer or more tannic than the overly sweet commercial products many people experienced with their first hard cider.
Page attributes the growing interest in cider to the growth of craft beer and distilleries as well as a continued interest in locally made beverages. “Beer sort of paved the way for cider,” he points out. “The advent of craft-beer culture sort of opened the door for other traditional drinks."
Lakewood Cider Days takes place at 801 South Yarrow Street, on the grounds of the Lakewood Heritage Center. Advance tickets are $30, and day-of tickets are $38; the price includes unlimited samples and a take-home commemorative tasting glass. Visit the Cider Days website to purchase tickets and learn more about parking and the free shuttles available.